Ethan and the Strays

S. & S./Paula Wiseman. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534471320.
PreS-Gr 2–Ethan, a young boy with dark skin and curly hair, walks to school with his older brother, Sam, as three curious kittens scamper from a shadowy alley. Ethan wonders aloud if they could bring one home and Sam reminds him that their father said no pets, encouraging him not to get attached. Empathetic Ethan cannot ignore his concern for the vulnerable kittens, so the brothers visit the litter each day offering lunchbox scraps. Passing the local animal clinic, the brothers read a sign: “Trap-Neuter-Return.” Ethan is empowered to do more than offer the kittens food after learning that neutering strays contributes to fewer hungry cats on city streets. All the while, Ethan shelters the hope that he will not have to part with the smallest and boldest kitten. Sullivan’s outstanding story and Aly’s warm, expressive mixed media illustrations seamlessly unite to offer an age-appropriate look at what can be done to address the cyclical issue of stray animals. Back matter includes additional resources as well as detailed steps on how to trap, neuter, and return homeless cats.
VERDICT A demonstration of individual responsibility, this loving and conscientious story deserves a home in all library collections.

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